The prosecution of Bill Cosby is senseless, akin to a modern-day lynching, some say.
When considering the ongoing sexual-assault retrial of Cosby, it’s only natural to first consider race. That’s an instinct — one based on hundreds of years of injustice for African Americans in the criminal justice system.
“It’s the quintessential prosecution when you consider that even during jury selection the #MeToo movement has come into play, yet Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, Woody Allen and Matt Lauer have never seen the inside of a courtroom,” said Jalen Vickers, who lives near the Montgomery County Courthouse where Cosby is being tried on three counts of aggravated indecent assault stemming from a 2004 incident with former Temple University employee Andrea Constand.
The judge hasn’t allowed Cosby’s attorneys to provide his business records they say show that fateful visit by Constand to Cosby’s Elkins Park, Pa., home happened much earlier than January, likely in November or December 2003.
That’s key because prosecutors didn’t bring charges until Dec. 30, 2015, just two days prior to the statute of limitations expiring on a January 2004 claim. By law, charges cannot be launched after the expiration date.
Then-District Attorney Bruce Castor declined to pursue charges against Cosby in 2005 when Constand reported the incident after consulting with civil lawyers and her brother-in-law, a police officer.
Vickers said he refuses to seek a pass to watch the proceedings because it would only upset him.
“This ‘me too’ movement is good in a way, but everyone is presumed guilty,” he said. “Even with that, I’d be good with it if it didn’t only apply to Bill Cosby. None of those other guys have been arrested or charged yet Cosby is the only one and you have to wonder if it’s because he’s Black.”
Vickers also pointed out that prosecutors have played the age-old race card, as Assistant District Attorney Kristen Feden already has stirred the pot by suggesting Cosby had a couple of token Black jurors and shouldn’t be entitled to more — regardless of the law that says an individual should be tried by his peers.
“They are using Kristen Feden, a Black girl who’s just as Black as Ben Carson, to be the mouthpiece, the loudmouth in the court because they believe jurors will see this Black lady and think this isn’t about race,” he said.
In the year that elapsed after the alleged incident, Constand called Cosby more than 50 times, even securing tickets to his concert for her parents.
Castor then got Cosby to agree to sit for a deposition which the comedian would not have otherwise done without such a deal. He and Constand would eventually strike a confidentiality agreement in which she received a $3.5 million payout not to go public with her allegations.
She broke the agreement in 2015, which some argue was an attempt to help current District Attorney Kevin Steele’s political campaign.
During the first trial last year— which was declared a mistrial in June after the jury reached an impasse — Constand testified that she was health-conscious, she watched everything and anything that she consumed. However, when she complained of being stressed to the point of losing sleep, she quickly agreed to take two blue pills that Cosby offered.
“This is what I take when I need to relax,” Cosby said to her.
Constand testified that she didn’t know what the pills were, directly contradicting her health-conscious consummation of foreign objects. She said she was in and out of consciousness after taking the pills, but somehow knew that she was in Cosby’s arms, he digitally penetrated her and put her hand on his penis.
She awakened in the morning and acquiesced to Cosby’s offer of a muffin and her favorite Red Zinger tea — hardly something you’d accept from someone who you suspected of drugging you just hours earlier.
“Call me when you get home,” Cosby told Constand, a phrase familiar with many who are dating.
In deposition testimony, Cosby said he and Constand had previously fooled around. She even testified to going to his home and making late-night visits to his hotel suite.
She also testified to providing gifts to Cosby and knew of his romantic interest in her even if she weren’t interested in a sexual relationship.
The actions bolster the sworn statements of another Temple University employee, Marguerite Jackson, who traveled with Constand and even shared hotel rooms with her.
While watching television one day, a report they viewed on the news described a celebrity allegedly drugging and assaulting woman. Constand told Jackson that she could make the same claims for money. When pressed by Jackson, Constand told her nothing of the sort ever happened to her.
During testimony under oath last year, Constand claimed she didn’t recall knowing Jackson.
“This is a case about greed — Andrea Constand’s greed,” said Tom Mesereau, Cosby’s lead defense attorney.
It’s also about a senseless prosecution of a blind 80-year-old man who paid his accuser money years ago so that he could move on with his career, Vickers said.
“Even if prosecutors believe he did this 14 or 15 years ago, he’s paid for it and he’s no longer a threat to anyone, so what’s the point?” Vickers said. “They want to make an example of him. They’ve made Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the modern-day Montgomery, Alabama.
“A Black man had sex with a White woman and now they want to lynch him. It’s senseless,” he said.